Monday, January 17, 2005


Westron wind, when wilt thou blow?
The small rain down can rain.
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again.

Odd how seeing you at the Choling can throw me. It scrapes all the faint accumulated dishonesty off the sides of the cup, I guess, and I taste it, the accumulated bitterness of a half-finished life.

Now that I have mostly stopped flirting, people have started flirting with me. That's a bit comical, and a bit telling. A woman I'd never seen before asked my name and told me I had a wonderful laugh. Another introduced herself, and held my hand just slightly beyond the usual space of a handshake. A lovely woman. I watched myself generate suffering out of that. The fantasies and speculations, a lifetime (at a conservative estimate) of habitual thoughts, roll smoothly into play. Watch them arise. Cut them loose, and they wander off. For about three tenths of a second. Then they roll into play again. "You're getting a bit boring," I tell them, and cut them loose again. I amuse myself throughout a good part of the evening with that, as those thoughts periodically return. It is something, to be clear about it, to be able to see it as suffering lumbering into action, and to be able to nip it a little closer to the bud. You have helped me with that, you know, though I couldn't tell you how.

You came and crouched beside me to talk, your leg casually brushed against mine. I never quite recovered from that. You are so much more at ease than I am. Apparently, anyway.

The topic of the evening was patience. My strong suit, if I have one. The lovely woman was taking notes. I'm always puzzled by people taking notes, especially at Dharma talks. Do they go back over them, studying for the exam? Does the act of writing things down help fix them in their memories? Or is it just a habitual way of manifesting attention, of being good?

Patience. My downfalls are primitive ones, mostly. I am not patient with being cold, or with being hungry. My life is comfortable and orderly enough that I'm not often tested. People who admire me, though, would soon get over it if they saw how petulant a little drop in thermometer-mercury or blood-sugar can make me. Not sure how one works on that. Not, I think, by inflicting cold or hunger on myself. I guess that one starts, as always, by noticing.

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